Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Edson Flores, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)

Edson Flores

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“Pragmatic, sometimes pensive. Always learning. Mezcal, live-music, fútbol. I get up before my alarm.”

Hometown: Portland, Oregon / Aguascalientes City, Mexico

Fun Fact About Yourself: I climb volcanoes. I have climbed one summit each year for the past four years, currently planning summit #5.

Undergraduate School and Major: City University of New York – Baruch College, Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Cross River Bank, Senior Strategy Associate

Berkeley Haas is founded on four Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Which principle resonates most with you and why? Question the status quo. Since leaving my home in Mexico for New York, unconventional choices have been part of my story. I learned early on that the path to my dreams is not always obvious and that stepping outside of the norm takes a certain appetite for risk.

What word best describes the Haas MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Curious. Everyone in the process showed a keen interest in knowing my story. Members of the Haas community are tremendously accomplished, yet everyone seems eager to learn from one another. It’s Confidence Without Attitude in action.

Aside from classmates and the Defining Leadership Principles, what was the key part of Berkeley Haas’ MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? My interview experience was excellent. It was more than an MBA interview, it was a frank conversation between a young professional and a seasoned mentor. I felt understood, challenged, and valued. This experience left me feeling positive about the tools and support I would have at Haas. Additionally, the school’s membership in The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, and its geographical location were also factors in my decision.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Berkeley Haas? Fintech and VC clubs. I have been fortunate to work with Authentic Ventures as a summer associate before starting school and I am excited to have them over as panelists in one of our meetings. Also, I can’t wait to play soccer again on a regular basis with the Soccer Club.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: On the heels of my company shutting down my base office in Manhattan, I was quickly left stranded and feeling uncertain about my career trajectory. That is when I learned to take the direction of my career into my own hands.

I stayed with my company and became very proactive in improving my knowledge of the business and became the “go-to” person for many business leaders. I raised my hand to lead impactful projects and developed meaningful relationships with senior management, earning their commitment and trust. I received a promotion after my first year, something that seemed unlikely during my first few months. Admittedly, I would have preferred a smoother path, yet there is great utility in the skills I learned while steering my career in periods of extreme uncertainty.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and introspection in the last 24 months. My biggest takeaway is two-fold: life is unpredictable and time will not wait for you. You will never come across the “perfect” time to do anything. Just try whatever it is you want to do. Dive in head-first, who knows when there will be another event that upends life as we know it.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? As the lead analyst on Cross River’s capital raise, I learned that I needed to complement my empathy-centric leadership style with assertive communication. I knew that the various leadership courses at Haas, especially “Interpersonal Skills and Embodied Leadership” could help me further develop this skill.

Post-MBA, I intend to pursue a venture capital associate role at an early-stage Fintech fund. As an aspiring entrepreneur in the long-term, I want to understand the skillsets and motivations of founders by immersing myself in the venture capital ecosystem.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Tuck, Yale SOM, GSB, HBS, INSEAD

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Berkeley Haas’ MBA program? Making sure you know yourself will make many parts of the application process easier, especially when evaluating which programs fit both your short- and long-term goals.


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